HEALTH

Matrixx taps Andrea Pennington for cold, flu awareness campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Matrixx Initiatives on Tuesday announced a partnership with health expert and former medical director for the Discovery Health Channel Andrea Pennington to help educate consumers on ways to keep healthy during cold-and-flu season. Pennington has appeared on numerous television programs, including "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Today," CNN, "CBS Morning News" and "Fox News."

 

Pennington’s work with Zicam will focus on raising awareness about how consumers can successfully treat their colds and feel better faster. "Most people have no idea how much power they have over their health," Pennington said. "Simple, small lifestyle changes can have a big impact on wellness. Embracing positive lifestyle changes now can help protect people during cold-and-flu season and promote a lifetime of wellness. I look forward to working with Zicam to help people live a healthy lifestyle."

 

 

Through media interviews and online articles at Zicam.com, Pennington will provide practical tips for people looking to defend themselves and their families this cold-and-flu season. Pennington also will offer consumers advice on how to incorporate sensible strategies that encourage wellness throughout the year.

 

 

As part of its campaign to educate consumers about how to get rid of a cold faster, Zicam also has launched a light-hearted online video featuring TV icons from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The Zicam "Mom Squad" features Florence Henderson (“The Brady Bunch”), Meredith Baxter (“Family Ties”) and Estelle Harris (“Seinfeld”), who have joined forces to dispel the myths Americans have long harbored about treating the common cold.

 

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New Rx FSA rule deemed operationally impossible by industry thought leaders

BY DSN STAFF

WASHINGTON — A panel of healthcare thought leaders has concluded that a recent IRS rule change going into effect Jan. 14, 2011, will demand retail system challenges that are operationally impossible to overcome in the limited time frame required.

And the National Association of Chain Drug Stores couldn’t agree more.

The new rule is the requirement of a written prescription to qualify over-the-counter medicines as reimbursable medical expenses through the use of pre-tax flexible spending accounts. Before, a consumer would just have to swipe his or her FSA debit card when making an eligible OTC purchase. Now he or she has to make a doctor’s visit and get a prescription.

“We see this as a threat to consumer access and choice at a time when we need our citizens to be more engaged in managing their health and the cost of care,” stated Jon Comola, executive director of the Foundation for HealthSmart Consumers. According to foundation researchers, the resulting costs could reach $2.5 billion annually if doctor visits and lab tests are incurred by even 10% of the insured population; potential new pharmacy costs could reach $3 billion annually.

NACDS is concerned that current IRS guidance would prohibit the use of debit cards in the purchase of not only any prescribed OTC medicine, but also any prescription-only therapy. “Currently, there is no robust interaction between pharmacy dispensing systems and IIAS systems,” NACDS stated. The Inventory Information Approval System is used to substantiate purchases for flexible spending accounts.

“IIAS systems cannot distinguish between a medication for which a prescription is required and an OTC that has been prescribed,” NACDS explained. “As a result, a prohibition on using debit cards for prescribed OTC medications could have the practical effect of prohibiting the use of debit cards for all prescribed medications.”

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Tomorrow’s senior is today’s joint care supplement user

BY Michael Johnsen

A recent Raymond James Financial commercial, in which the “fastidious librarian Emily Skinner” lives to the “ripe old age of 187” (thanks in part to prudent financial planning), really captures what tomorrow’s senior is going to look like — or at least what he or she will aspire to look like. And judging by the commercial, seniors will look extremely active, playing a ping-pong champ, landing a record-setting bass and setting off on a hang glider into the sunset.

For manufacturers of joint care supplements, this sort of aspirational and active baby boomer will translate into a steady stream of new users. There also will be an increase in interest among the sandwich generation, who soon will become caregivers for their baby boomer parents. “We’re [starting] to see Americans begin to understand preventative care, as well as responsive care,” said Dave Ritterbush, CEO of Joint Juice. “In the case of joint health, traditionally that market has been built by somebody who begins to have knee pain, etc. People now are beginning to understand that you can begin healthy diets and can be taking steps [toward better health] prior to the actual onset of anything.”

Another potential future sales driver of joint care solutions is today’s obese teenagers.

“When you listen to orthopedic specialists present, there is a lot of discussion these days on childhood obesity and overweight adolescence,” noted David Moore, VP consumer sales for Nutramax Labs. The longer time period that excess weight is carried on the body, the more damage is caused to the joints, and at a younger age. “For every pound of weight that you lose, your joint feels as though you lost 5 to 6 pounds,” Moore said. And since proper dieting isn’t working for these teenagers today, they very well may be in the supplement aisle looking for joint care solutions tomorrow.

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